Words and pictures fail to describe all that we observed these past 5 days while visiting my sister, Sande, on her ranch in Torrington, Wyoming. The amount of work that is necessary to make a living on a ranch is overwhelming. We tried to come up with a list of categories for everything she is involved in that contributes to her daily workload. That list (I’m sure we forgot some) includes: haying, beef cattle, dairy cows, housekeeping, cooking, cheese making, poultry, business management, calving, branding, fencing, irrigation, vehicle and machinery upkeep, gardening and rattlesnake killing.
Raising two bottle calves, that have to be fed 3 times a day.
Straining the milk sold as fresh milk or made into cheese.Heading out with 3-wheeler to check hay fields.
Boone, faithful dog, rides everywhere with her and helps with herding the cattle.
Candy, the dairy cow, needs to be milked twice daily and then given feed and water.
Didn’t get a photo, but 2 horses and several cows and calves stay in the barnyard area and have to be fed twice a day, also. This doesn’t count driving the tractor out into the fields to bring hay to the main herd (80 cows with their calves). This task is necessary because the drought conditions have meant there is not enough grass for grazing.
Feed and water for Candy.
The hay had been cut and was drying in the fields until Wednesday morning when the men with the rake and baler showed up to begin baling the hay. Sande assisted by using her forklift to pick up the bales and organize them into piles of three. This made it less time consuming to get the bales off the field and put onto the storage stack near the farmyard. The man who had been hired for that task showed up with his tractor, loader and wagon later in the afternoon. He and Sande worked so efficiently that they were almost caught up with the raker and baler when the storms hit. It was amazing how fast the storm clouds built up. When the rain and hail began in earnest the haying had to be abandoned as everyone ran for shelter.
The hay crop was small because of the drought and some of what was cut will be ruined after everything has dried out and the haying resumes. But most of what was cut down this week was brought in and stacked before the rain and Sande was thankful for the hay that she did get. Hopefully, second and third cuttings later this summer will yield more.
Heading out to begin stacking the hay.
Are you wondering if Lee and I did anything useful while we were there? Well, the day before the haying started Sande said that we could help with the task of getting one of her young bulls moved from its pen in the farmyard out into the field where it could be with a group of her cows who were ready for breeding. We would get the bull corralled first and then she would load it into her horse trailer and drive it to the field.
Lee came prepared with his red shirt for the bull herding task.
Sande did most of the “herding” and we just yelled and waved our hands or closed gates after it went through.Giving the bull its tag before it gets loaded into the trailer.After the bull was unloaded in the field there was a water tank in an adjacent field that needed to be brought back to the farmyard. Using the now empty horse trailer, Lee helped Sande drain the tank and roll it into the trailer.